Economic Collapse Blog
Barack Obama promised to fundamentally transform America, and when it comes to health care he has definitely kept his promise. Thanks to Obamacare, health care spending is up, health insurance premiums are up, the number of hours Americans are working is down and employer-based health insurance is becoming an endangered species. Of course employer-based health insurance will not disappear completely any time soon, but it has been steadily shrinking for over a decade, and Obamacare will greatly accelerate that decline.
If you go back to 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance. That was pretty good. Today, only 54.9 percent of all Americans are covered by employment-based health insurance, and now thousands upon thousands of U.S. employers are considering reducing the scope of the health plans they offer to employees or eliminating them altogether due to Obamacare. If you are thinking that this sounds like a potential nightmare for millions of Americans families, you would be exactly right.
There have already been widespread reports of companies dropping health insurance, but nobody knows for sure how widespread the carnage will be. According to Businessweek, the surveys that have been done up to this point have come up with widely varying results…
A Deloitte study last year suggested 10 percent of employers would stop offering group health plans. A widely criticized McKinsey report from 2011 put the number as high as one-third. The Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections suggest 8 million fewer people will be covered by employer plans five years from now under the ACA than without it. Many of them will get policies through health insurance exchanges instead.
But what everyone does agree on is that employer-based health coverage will continue to diminish.
And we are already watching this happen right in front of our eyes. Just this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the largest security guard firm in the United States is dropping health coverage for 55,000 employees…
The nation’s largest provider of security guards plans to discontinue its lowest-cost health plans and steer roughly 55,000 workers to new government-sponsored insurance exchanges for coverage next year, in the latest sign of the fraying ties between employment and health care.
The U.S. arm of Sweden’s Securitas AB is among more than 1,200 employers that offer the kind of bare-bones health plans that must be phased out beginning Jan. 1 under the health-care law. Nearly four million people are enrolled in these so-called mini-med plans, which cap benefits to participants, sometimes at as little as $3,000 a year.
“The mini-meds go away and we’re not replacing them,” said Jim McNulty, a spokesman for Securitas’s U.S. operation. “Their option is to go to the exchanges.”
Other big employers, including Darden Restaurants Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Trader Joe’s Co., say they will stop offering health insurance to part-time workers, and will direct those employees to the state exchanges. Darden, Home Depot and Trader Joe’s previously offered mini-meds to their part timers.